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The cradle of civilization on Java

Yogyakarta: a modern blend of the ancient and the arts

Sep 22, 2011

Yogyakarta, together with its twin city target="_blank">Surakarta (Solo), is the cradle of civilization on Java. This city was the seat of power that produced the magnificent temples of target="_blank">Borobudur and target="_blank">Prambanan in the 8th and 9th century and the new powerful Mataram kingdom of the 16th and 17th century. Until today, this city continues to produce philosophers, thinkers, master painters, and master craftsmen.

While steeped in rich tradition and history, Yogyakarta, lovingly known as Yogya, continues to remain young. This is a university town, where students from all over Indonesia from different ethnic backgrounds flock to pursue knowledge and wisdom. For this reason, Yogya is both very Javanese and at the same time a melting pot of different Indonesian cultures.

Yogyakarta (or Jogjakarta) is known as Neverending Asia for its endless attractions and appeal. As one of Indonesia’s 32 provinces, this city is one of the foremost cultural centers of Indonesia. From climbing the magnificent Borobudur temple, visiting target="_blank">the Keraton - the Sultan’s Palace - to watching silversmiths produce amazing jewelry at target="_blank">Kotagede, to shopping up a storm at target="_blank">Malioboro road, you’ll never be bored in this relatively small yet bustling city.

Yogya is a city of history. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was the seat of the re-emerged Mataram kingdom. Today many of the Mataram traditions live on and are a part of the city’s daily life. Yogya is a place to come to connect with the centuries’ old traditions, culture, and the history of Java, as well as bask in the friendliness of the local people. It is a place with a unique charm, which seldom fails to captivate visitors.

From natural wonders, local art and traditions, examples of Javanese heritage, to delicious culinary delights, Yogya is a city with numerous attractions. This is why Yogya is the second most-visited destination in Indonesia after target="_blank">Bali.

Overshadowed in the north by the smoldering target="_blank">Mt. Merapi volcano and bordered to the south by the pounding Indian Ocean, the graceful old city of Yogya has a mild climate, making it easy for visitors to plan activities without worrying about intense heat. The beautiful green landscape of this central part of Java makes merely traveling from one destination to another an experience.

In addition, there are about 70,000 handicraft industries based in Yogya and other facilities like various accommodations and transportations, numerous food services, travel agents, and proper tourism support, including a security team support called the Tourism Police, locally known as Bhayangkara Wisata.

The people of Yogyakarta are known for their hospitality and good manners. If you show proper respect, you will be welcome in any part of the city.

While it’s a bustling cultural hub, Yogya is also slower paced and more relaxed than other cities in Indonesia. Many locals consider Yogya the perfect place to retire because of its air of serenity, tolerance, and harmony. There is a reason why people say that time moves slower in Yogya.

Yogya is the center of Javanese arts from the refined court dances to modern arts in painting and performing art.

Yogya is famous as a center of traditional textile production, particularly batik. The distinctive batik of Yogya uses the basic colors of brown, indigo, and white within geometric designs. Many young artists of Yogya have also embraced the modern art of batik painting.

Yogya is also known for its leather and wooden puppet crafts used for traditional shadow-puppet performances, as well as wooden puppet performances (wayang golek) that are used to act out ancient epics, which contain popular but deep philosophical thoughts and teachings.

Yogyakarta: a modern blend of the ancient and the arts
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